Moon of Alabama Brecht quote
August 24, 2012

Apparently, Liz Sly Can Conclude Without Supporting Facts

Liz Sly writes for the Washington Post on Syria. Her newest piece is headlined Gruesome killings mark escalation of violence in Syrian capital.

It opening graph states:

ANTAKYA, Turkey — Scores of mutilated, bloodied bodies have been found dumped on the streets and on waste ground on the outskirts of Damascus in recent days, apparently the victims of a surge of extrajudicial killings by Syrian security forces seeking to drive rebel fighters out of the capital and its suburbs.
Apparently Antakya in Turkey is just the right place to report on what happens in Damascus, Syria and to conclude who "apperently" kills.

But here are the sources of Sly's reporting:

  • Activists say ...
  • Videos posted online and accounts from residents ...
  • According to the Center for the Documentation of Violations in Syria ...
  • ... activists say
  • ... a graphic video posted on YouTube
  • ... according to the Britain-based Syrian Observatory for Human Rights
  • ... Nadim Houry, a researcher at New York-based Human Rights Watch, speaking from Beirut
  • ... according to the opposition Local Coordination Committees
  • ... Activists say
  • ... Tariq Saleh, an activist with the Damascus Revolutionary Leadership Council.
  • ... according to rebel commanders
  • ... Abu Aasi, an activist there with the Local Coordination Committees
  • ... captured on another graphic video

None of Sly's sources is an eyewitness to the killings that apparently took place. None of them is neutral or on the government side.

Her conclusion at the top of her piece that the dead are "apparently the victims of a surge of extrajudicial killings by Syrian security forces" is derived from mixing together various hearsay from her sources and from watching gruel videos of dead people on Youtube.  this while all of Sly's sources have an apparent interest to make the Syrian government look bad

But as Sly herself writes, some of the dead were found "with the throats slit". Is it typical for the Syrian government forces to slit throats? Or is that a more typical way of killing for violent Jihadists of the Al Qaeda type who are known to be fighting on the insurgency's side?

Deep down into the piece Sly also writes:

The details of the killings are impossible to confirm, and activists and human rights groups say they are finding it difficult to verify the circumstances of the grisly deaths being recorded daily on videos posted online.
And:
Shelling and raids by government forces have hindered researchers’ access to the sites where bodies are being found
...
Houry also acknowledged that firsthand accounts of killings are rare.
...
Activists say the latest wave of killings has taken place in residential areas that earlier were under rebel control.
...
And as they withdraw, the killings occur.
So there were Al Qaeda style killings in areas that were held by the rebels and the killings are said to have somehow taken place while the insurgents retreated.

How does this support the conclusion that "apparently the victims of a surge of extrajudicial killings by Syrian security forces"? And what does the Syrian government say about these killings. Apparently Liz Sly was unable to report on that.

To me it seems that these dead people are either the victims of Al Qaeda style killing by the sectarian insurgents or victims of legitimate fighting that occurred while the government forces drove the insurgents out.

Nowhere in the piece do I find any fact that supports the conclusion it is starting with. How is that supposed to be reporting?

Posted by b on August 24, 2012 at 05:25 AM | Permalink

Comments

If you think Western journalism can stoop so low what about this


For the foreseeable future, however, Iran constitutes a far greater and more immediate threat to U.S. national interests. Whatever misfortunes Sunni Islamists may visit upon the Syrian people, any government they form will be strategically preferable to the Assad regime, for three reasons: A new government in Damascus will find continuing the alliance with Tehran unthinkable, it won't have to distract Syrians from its minority status with foreign policy adventurism like the ancien régime, and it will be flush with petrodollars from Arab Gulf states (relatively) friendly to Washington...There will be plenty of time to tame the beast after Iran's regional hegemonic ambitions have gone down in flames"

Two cheers for Syrians Islamists

Posted by: hans | Aug 24, 2012 6:41:05 AM | 1

I think the idea of escalation yesterday came from a Twitterer called 'the 47th' who predicted that something momentous was about to happen. Apparently this Twitterer has a reputation for correctly predicting what is about to happen, like defections for example.

I should Sly just picked it up and then went looking for evidence to support the hypothesis. But there ain't none, other than what you mention.

Posted by: alexno | Aug 24, 2012 6:48:38 AM | 2

This is the best story I've seen today:

Amateur jihad tests Syrian rebel resources

But while some are professional "jihadists", veterans of Iraq or Afghanistan, Chechnya or Libya, who bring combat and bomb-making skills that alarm the Western and Arab governments which have cheered the rebels on, many of these foreigners have little to offer Syrians but their goodwill and prayers, and plenty have ended up floundering well beyond their comfort zone.

For some rebel commanders, they are just getting in the way.

Posted by: alexno | Aug 24, 2012 6:52:18 AM | 3

Our Comments on a Report by Liz Sly of Washington Post re SyriaM

http://democratic-syria.blogspot.de/2011/08/our-comments-on-report-by-liz-sly-of.html

Posted by: MK | Aug 24, 2012 7:20:56 AM | 4

@hans: Some additional information.

The author of the hasbara piece, Gary Gambill, is member of the international advisory board of the U.S. Committee for a Free Lebanon:

http://rightweb.irc-online.org/profile/US_Committee_for_a_Free_Lebanon/

and was the editor of the Middle East Intelligence Bulletin, which was published by the above mentioned committee and the Middle East Forum of Daniel Pipes. So, what else do we have to expect? :-)

Posted by: m_s | Aug 24, 2012 10:09:34 AM | 5

people still read the post or even the ny times believing what they read?

these 2 rags offer nothing but propaganda and support for any war that washington or the israelis tell them to support which is EVERY war they start.

Posted by: JADEZ | Aug 24, 2012 10:23:17 AM | 6

I've been very busy lately, along with having PC troubles, but...it seemed to me there was a lull in the most obvious propaganda against the Syrian government about the time Aleppo was being taken back by the government forces. There were even stories which were more even-handed, more like real reporting.

Then, after the Obama "red line" comment, it seems to me the propaganda type of articles have rushed back. I haven't been able to watch broadcast news reports, so I'm not sure what's being fed to the US public on that front.

This morning, however, David Sanger of the NYTimes appeared on WNYC's Brian Lehrer Show, and discussed leaks about the newest, soon to be released, IAEA report that Iran has installed 100's, perhaps a thousand new centrifuges capable of refining uranium to 20% purity. Buried deeply underground. Danger! But, maybe not immediate Danger! Sanger wrote the article on this for the Times.

This may be related to the Haaretz article from August 9th that the US NIE has reported Iran making progress toward...exactly what? Anyway, Israeli Defense Minister Barak confirmed an earlier Haaretz article about this leak.

Barak: New U.S. intelligence report raises urgency over Iran's nuclear program

Defense Minister Ehud Barak confirms Haaretz's report that Obama recently received an NIE report which shares Israel's view on Iran's progress toward nuclear capability; Israel, U.S. positions on Iran now closer, says Barak.

Anyway, it seems the heat is being turned up about Iran, whether it's on a back burner or being moved toward the front. Obama has to keep being belligerent but with control in order to fend off Romney's even greater belligerence.

(What a mess. Romney is appearing to move further and further into la-la rightwad land. Yesterday he gave a speech on energy and came out against any restrictions of where drilling can be done and against any auto mileage requirements. The guy really is lookiing to win by getting the cracy conservative vote.)


Posted by: jawbone | Aug 24, 2012 11:32:44 AM | 7

Thanks, b, for nailing down just HOW most Western propagandist reporters are, well, doing what they call reporting. This is what's been done on so any TV, radio, and print reports for so long it's amazing these reporters can stand playing this game. Or maybe they've become True Believers. Doing what must be done to con the public into supporting yet another war.

Posted by: jawbone | Aug 24, 2012 11:36:30 AM | 8

As the US media is not directly controlled with Generals reading previews of articles before approving them, and as for its own reputation and way of doing things, it does not want, or cannot (in the sense of destroying an existing system), indulge in direct, public censorship, or the forcing of mandatory ‘talking points’, the MSM is sometimes a little slow to catch on, behind the times. A time lag appears.

The MSM-Gvmt-Corps alliance is a tightly controlled yet informal system that also finds its justification in its own effects - e.g. public opinion / interest has turned - new ‘factlets’ create a new reading, view point. It is muddle along w. your colleagues, your superiors. That way everybody is happy and saves their honor, they get rewards for spinning about in their in-group.

In any case, the public forgets last week news, as all of it is vacuous. If anyone mentions old news, well things have changed, or genuine mistakes were made, false or partial info was all that was available, etc.

For the PTB, all this is magical wondrous, as the MSM content is so confusing, empty -- it puts ppl off and they check out or they just fall back on blaming villains, like Assad, Saddam, terrorists, Arabs, Sharia Law, the UN, Rockefellers, etc.

Facts are a low priority, to put it mildly. You just have to be on the right page, go with present flow, and make things up as you go along.

Judith Miller is not in prison.

Posted by: Noirette | Aug 24, 2012 12:16:29 PM | 9

No mention of AQ?
I guess the Washington guidance to the MSM is: Don't mention Al-Qaeda in Syria. There are only two components of this war -- "Assad's regime" and "innocent protesters." Don't complicate the situation. Most people can't consider more than two variables, or don't have the time to do so.

In the real world,

Aug 24, 2012
Suicide bombings become commonplace in Syria
Relying on translations prepared by the SITE Intelligence Group and other publicly-available reports, The Long War Journal has found that approximately 25 suicide bombings have been executed since the end of last year. This includes the Dec. 23, 2011 attacks and 24 suicide bombings since the first of this year. That is, there have been about 25 suicide bombings in Syria in less than eight months.
http://www.longwarjournal.org/archives/2012/08/suicide_bombings_bec.php

Key takeaway: "The details of the killings are impossible to confirm." --Sly

Previously, the alleged massacres and rapes were "impossible to confirm." The alleged notorious Houla Massacre in May, for example, that caused the withdrawal of western ambassadors and threats by Clinton to invoke Chapter VII and a UN intervention, was supposed to be investigated by the UN and a report issued. It has dropped from sight, down into the black propaqganda hole, because there was no massacre.

So why is the Washington Post publishing allegations knowing that they are not only unconfirmed but also "impossible to confirm?" Huh?

Posted by: Don Bacon | Aug 24, 2012 12:27:38 PM | 10

Norman Solomon:

Dan Rather, an iconic US journalist: "Look I'm an American. I never tried to kid anybody that I'm some internationalist or something. And when my country is at war, I want my country to win, whatever the definition of 'win' might be. Now, I can't and don't argue that that is coverage without prejudice. About that I am prejudiced."
So Dan brought us through the criminal war against Vietnam and the Nixon presidency.
-- from Norman Solomon's "War Made Easy" -- How Presidents and Pundits Keep Spinning Us to Death.

Posted by: Don Bacon | Aug 24, 2012 12:32:57 PM | 11

So much for living in cosmopolitan cities and being in the upper crust in education...

Posted by: Georgeg | Aug 24, 2012 12:34:28 PM | 12

Here's an interesting theory on why AQ may not be "reportable" in Syria (although the author mistakenly discounts AQ and claims Syria is doing terrorism attacks).
By Bilal Y. Saab, Special to CNN (excerpts)

If Obama starts to receive additional reports from his intelligence advisors that al Qaeda is gaining ground in Syria and about to establish another safe haven in the Middle East along the borders of that country, he may have little choice but to reassess his options. . . if CIA Director David Petraeus and National Intelligence Director James Clapper call tomorrow for a meeting and brief Obama about increasingly disturbing al Qaeda activity in Syria, the president cannot ignore their assessments. . .the Obama administration will find the military option — whatever shape or form it may take — more appealing and suitable to contain the crisis.
http://globalpublicsquare.blogs.cnn.com/2012/05/11/al-assad-is-shooting-himself-in-the-foot/

Think Somalia and Yemen.

Posted by: Don Bacon | Aug 24, 2012 1:25:37 PM | 13

Why are you expecting reporting from a neocon rag like the WaPo? For that matter are there any mass market newspapers or magazines that report?

Posted by: ab initio | Aug 24, 2012 1:31:55 PM | 14

So why is the Washington Post publishing allegations knowing that they are not only unconfirmed but also "impossible to confirm?" Huh?

Because:

- it can > can’t be prosecuted for false reports

- it feels like it

- it has no journo standards whatsoever

The WaPo and others are part of large media conglomerates that are Gvmt-cum-corp controlled, reporters (meaning clueless beholden desk essayists or fantasists with kids in private school and worries about pools, the servant problem, divorce) are lackeys for the PTB and even that is stating it softly.

http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/The_Washington_Post_Company

Owns Slate, and Kaplan inc. amongst others

Posted by: Noirette | Aug 24, 2012 1:40:09 PM | 15

Well the UN Human Rights report or whatever-it's-called pretty much cemented the narrative of who is responsible for these brutal, up-close massacres(usually of Syrian loyalists and innocent civilians) with their conclusion about Houla. The grown-ups are lying to us like never before, out of necessity.

So now these dumbass reporters will feel even less need to seek out both sides of the story - but I guess "less than none" isn't much of a difference. It has been and will be, pretty consistently, the same eructation; "activists say...". And they'll carry on doing it in as many non-aligned countries as possible, if that isn't bloody obvious by now.

Posted by: L Bean | Aug 24, 2012 1:46:11 PM | 16

re 24

In the real world,
Aug 24, 2012
Suicide bombings become commonplace in Syria
Relying on translations prepared by the SITE Intelligence Group and other publicly-available reports

Don,

You should know better than to quote the SITE Intelligence Group, even if indirectly. Anything they say is DEBKA quality. In 2010, they were shown to be one Israeli chief, with one American researcher. Have they changed their spots since then?

Anything with 'SITE Intelligence Group' as the source should be excluded.

I admit I haven't tried to read so-called Jihadist websites since the time of Falluja, when I spent a whole evening reading 'Floojaweb'. It was obvious to me at the time that it was completely open, and anybody could contribute a claim of a bombing, convincing if it was put in the right religious language. I'm sure many of the claims were false.

Add to that the filtering of an Israeli-American aggregator, and no-one should touch it with a barge-pole.

Posted by: alexno | Aug 24, 2012 2:45:01 PM | 17

Alexno,
You should know better than to say that I should know better. Your opinion about what I should know is a gratuitous avoidance of the issue of AQ in Syria. So stuff it. Don't you have anything better to do than attack me?

Posted by: Don Bacon | Aug 24, 2012 2:56:23 PM | 18

b-

My lead propaganda reporter Joby Warrick is out on vacation. He recently was nailed too many times, so we thought if he takes a few days off things will quite down a bit. Company is constantly asking us to print new scripted stories on Syria, it’s hard, Joby my lead script writer was not available, so I had to use Liz Sly, she’s new but I think she can script a good propaganda in a matter of few more stories, just be patient and give her a chance, she learned from my main man David Ignatius’s Syriana. And I promise soon she will be there, please don’t knock down her stories, and give people some time, a little room.

Regards

Fred Hiatt
Editor, Washington Post
x

Posted by: kooshy | Aug 24, 2012 3:03:57 PM | 19

@Noirette
Perhaps I didn't make it clear, but my question on WaPo was a rhetorical one. I know why that do what they do. Norman Solomon's book (@ #11) is an excellent reference on it, for one thing.
The key element to me about the WaPo piece is the excerpt (to repeat):

Key takeaway: "The details of the killings are impossible to confirm." --Sly

I believe it's unusual (and quite telling) for the MSM to admit the truth of its shortcomings as Ms. Sly did. Since story Sly tells is impossible to confirm then it seems to me that by the rules of conventional journalism it shouldn't have been published.

Posted by: Don Bacon | Aug 24, 2012 3:09:39 PM | 20

re 18 Don Bacon

You are quite wrong in thinking that I'm attacking **you**. My attack was on the SITE Intelligence Group, a highly questionable organisation.

I thought you would have already known about SITE, but apparently it is not so well known.

Posted by: alexno | Aug 24, 2012 3:30:44 PM | 21

hi Don, i took you literal my bad, have a drink on me. and a portion of peanuts or chips or fries. olives!

cheers! munch munch

The MSM is somewhat at sea because US foreign policy is also stumbling and they can't make it out exactly.

so sly is more careful than usual with blather about 'unconfirmed' but what does that change? ppl take away the facts or conjectures they read, etc.

Posted by: Noirette | Aug 24, 2012 3:45:45 PM | 22

re 20

I believe it's unusual (and quite telling) for the MSM to admit the truth of its shortcomings as Ms. Sly did. Since story Sly tells is impossible to confirm then it seems to me that by the rules of conventional journalism it shouldn't have been published.

I suspect that this is a an exceptionally speculative story that came through from the rebels because they are losing in Aleppo. Ms. Sly repeated it, as she has to, and failed in supporting it.

Frankly, everywhere the situation is the same. The MSM are continuing to write in support of the rebellion, but the comments on the comments pages have changed line. The atrocities of the rebels are too much, and sentiment is going against. I should think this has something to do with Sly's failure to properly justify the rebellion.

Posted by: alexno | Aug 24, 2012 4:10:58 PM | 23

@Noirette
Notta problem. It's my dry New England (i.e. British) "humor" that doesn't come through. (I blame my surroundings for everything.)

Posted by: Don Bacon | Aug 24, 2012 4:32:48 PM | 24

One subject of the current US/Turk "operational mechanism" meetings in Istanbul is probably creation of an enclave and no-fly zone in a portion of northern Syria, perhaps around Azaz.

CSMonitor:

Creation of such a zone, first suggested by US Secretary of State Hillary Rodham Clinton during a recent visit to Turkey, would help protect civilians from government bombardment and carve out a “safe haven” from which anti-Assad forces could operate.

This would be interesting, if done, because the anti-Syria terrorist gangs are apparently currently operating mostly in the cities, Damascas and Aleppo. So they would somehow be shepherded into this haven? Or the haven would be open to new terrorists? And how would they operate out of such a haven, with its perimeter presumably fortified and mined by Syria?

Clinton stuck Acting Assistant Secretary Beth Jones with this (mostly military) tar baby, I kinda feel sorry for her. She's probably a good person and doesn't deserve the 'honor.'

These meetings obviously have the potential of causing more problems than they solve, particularly since no other neighboring or otherwise involved (e.g. Russia) have been invited, and Turkey is not the most reliable of allies.

Posted by: Don Bacon | Aug 24, 2012 4:37:54 PM | 25

'No fly zones' can't be established in small drops of terrain like a county or a province. That doesn't work. At the minimum it would be like the one in Iraq that was defined starting at a parallel (in very a lousy way) that prevented any air plane to enter the Kurdish region. And even then in Iraq the US planes regularly hit targets further down from the theoretical limit of the exclusion zone. All air and air defense assets are fair game when the 'no fly zones' game is started. Otherwise you are endangering your own planes. And if you follow the Libya script that even means any fixed or mobile Syrian army asset.

Any implementation of a no fly zone implies total air war and full control of the air space over all Syria. Anything else is just sweet talk for the fools that believe that this war has anything to do with 'democracy' or 'humanitarianism'.

Posted by: ThePaper | Aug 24, 2012 4:48:56 PM | 26

Right. I trust that the mil-rep, with knowledge of Syria's considerable air defense capability, will make this clear to Ms. Jones.

Posted by: Don Bacon | Aug 24, 2012 5:27:50 PM | 27

The topic of air defense reminds me of the interesting discussion back in Jun-Jul about the Turkish F-4 downing, and the subsequent discussion of electromagnetic pulse (EMP) weapons, which a Turk political party leader claimed had been used (from a Russian ship) to down the F-4, coupled with the findings that there was no physical damage to the plane from weapons.

Could EMP weapons be used against any US planes employed near Syria? Possibly. It's an interesting possibility, particularly considering very hi-tech US aircraft. Roaming around, I found something. I don't want to make any claims about what follows, I'm only presenting it.

Remember the stranding and fire aboard the cruise ship Carnival Splendor back in Nov 2010? Dec 11, 2010 -- Carnival Splendor stranding baffles marine experts -- Marine experts are questioning whether there was a design flaw in the Carnival Splendor cruise ship, which lost power after an engine fire and was towed to San Diego on Thursday with nearly 4,500 people aboard.-- Clark Dodge, former chief engineer for Washington State Ferries, said large passenger vessels are designed to ensure that such a fire doesn't cause a loss of all power. . ."What happened makes no sense to me," said Dodge, a consultant. "If things were designed properly, all the power shouldn't have gone out." . .Dodge said he's confident that Coast Guard and NTSB investigators will pinpoint what went wrong.
http://travel.usatoday.com/cruises/2010-11-12-cruise-inside_N.htm

It's a huge ship, I've seen it at dock in Long Beach. Did the Coast Guard figure out how the ship lost all power? Nope, it merely chastized Carnival for some bad procedures and for fire negligence.
http://www.examiner.com/article/coast-guard-blasts-carnival-splendor-for-fire-negligence

Then there's this. Nov 10, 2010 -- A new report circulating in the Kremlin today prepared for Prime Minister Putin by Director Anatoly Perminov of the Russian Federal Space Agency states that an Arkon-1 military satellite monitoring the western coastal regions of North America detected an “EMP anomalous event” occurring on November 8th at 0600 Pacific Standard Time (-8 hours GMT) that bore the “direct signature” of a YJ-62 subsonic anti-ship missile fired from a Chinese People’s Liberation Navy Type 041 submarine (NATO code name Yuan-Class) known to be patrolling approximately 200 kilometers off United States coast.
The “immediate effect” of the Chinese Navy’s firing of their EMP missile, this report continues, was the “catastrophic crippling” of the US based cruise ship Carnival Splendor that stranded its nearly 4,500 passengers and crew in a “dead in the water” boat and prompting the Americans to send the US Navy’s Ronald Reagan aircraft carrier, warplanes, and supply aircraft to protect it from further attack after all of its electronic systems were destroyed.
http://www.whatdoesitmean.com/index1421.htm

Posted by: Don Bacon | Aug 24, 2012 7:05:29 PM | 28

Good catch, b. And excellent analysis too.
The following vid from Voltairenet helps (imo) to explain why the MSM is getting increasingly hysterical, desperate ... and careless.
Thierry Meyssan interviews a female journalist freed by the Syrian army, after her rescue.

Yara Saleh, hostage of the Free Syrian Army
http://www.voltairenet.org/Yara-Saleh-hostage-of-the-Free

The interview starts at the 9th or 10th minute.
What it seems to demonstrate is that the jihadists, besides not being the sharpest knives in the drawer, are totally outclassed by the Syrian Army. The Army (apparently) knew where she was and was intercepting their (West-supplied) 'secure' comms and surrounding them.

Posted by: Hoarsewhisperer | Aug 24, 2012 8:43:30 PM | 29

The 'Syria kills' echo chamber has been created by the means rock n roll guitarists innovated to motivate peeps, distortion and feedback.
My local fishwrap has an interview in it with Clinton's "senior adviser for innovation" (sic) who claims that

"State now operates what is effectively a global media empire, reaching a larger direct audience than the paid circulation of the 10 largest US dailies and employing an army of diplomat-journalists to feed its 600-plus platforms." That includes a team of 11 bloggers active in Arabic, Urdu and Somali in the Arab blogosphere, countering online extremism.

The article contains links to a state department page on 21Century Statecraft where outlandish claims such as "Just as the Internet has changed economics, culture, and politics, it is also significantly impacting the practice of foreign policy. It is not simply the fact that more people are using ever more sophisticated technologies; the structural changes that have accompanied these quantum leaps in connection technologies are highly disruptive." are made.
There is another link that gives even more indication of exactly why the silly soundbite social networking of Twittering was pushed so aggressively by kissasses during the noughties.
Best of all at the bottom of the twiplomacy page (twiplomacy? are these types totally intellectually bereft?)
is a list of the top 25 puppets in a leading role(as they would say at the oscars). It is titled "The 25 most connected World Leaders on Twitter" and I'm ashamed to admit the slug who fixed the last election here cops a mention along with every other sychophant to the 1% currently in political power.

It is the same old, same old, non-journalism the forces of darkness have been using since town criers first developed sources.
Somone feeds a line of bulldust out to twitter, another mentions it and shares it, then other ass lickers file reports claiming that the lie (except of course they don't call it that) is 'trending' Pretty soon the BS has taken a life of it's own and is reported in other media which never check the veracity of the claim. Initially because the lie is just being reported on as being highly circulated on twitter, later because it has moved beyond fact checking and established a life of its own.

We can sit around our keyboards and sing to the choir as much as we like, maybe it makes the horror a little more bearable for some. It doesn't do that for me, it is becoming increasingly apparent that resistance to the assholes must innovate a couple of steps past the oppressors if we want to maintain an effective opposition.

Sure the attempts to regulate sites and behaviour on the net make organised resistance somewhat more difficult, but there are still many ways around their largely untested 'safeguards' against counter narratives, and yes it does cost significantly more to initiate and maintain than a static site such as a blog, but the costs are not that big and are easily manageable for a small group of committed activists.

Posted by: Debs is dead | Aug 24, 2012 8:45:09 PM | 30

The 'Syria kills' echo chamber has been created by the means rock n roll guitarists innovated to motivate peeps, distortion and feedback.
My local fishwrap has an interview in it with Clinton's "senior adviser for innovation" (sic) who claims that

"State now operates what is effectively a global media empire, reaching a larger direct audience than the paid circulation of the 10 largest US dailies and employing an army of diplomat-journalists to feed its 600-plus platforms." That includes a team of 11 bloggers active in Arabic, Urdu and Somali in the Arab blogosphere, countering online extremism.

The article contains links to a state department page on 21Century Statecraft where outlandish claims such as "Just as the Internet has changed economics, culture, and politics, it is also significantly impacting the practice of foreign policy. It is not simply the fact that more people are using ever more sophisticated technologies; the structural changes that have accompanied these quantum leaps in connection technologies are highly disruptive." are made.
There is another link that gives even more indication of exactly why the silly soundbite social networking of Twittering was pushed so aggressively by kissasses during the noughties.
Best of all at the bottom of the twiplomacy page (twiplomacy? are these types totally intellectually bereft?)
is a list of the top 25 puppets in a leading role(as they would say at the oscars). It is titled "The 25 most connected World Leaders on Twitter" and I'm ashamed to admit the slug who fixed the last election here cops a mention along with every other sychophant to the 1% currently in political power.

It is the same old, same old, non-journalism the forces of darkness have been using since town criers first developed sources.
Somone feeds a line of bulldust out to twitter, another mentions it and shares it, then other ass lickers file reports claiming that the lie (except of course they don't call it that) is 'trending' Pretty soon the BS has taken a life of it's own and is reported in other media which never check the veracity of the claim. Initially because the lie is just being reported on as being highly circulated on twitter, later because it has moved beyond fact checking and established a life of its own.

We can sit around our keyboards and sing to the choir as much as we like, maybe it makes the horror a little more bearable for some. It doesn't do that for me, it is becoming increasingly apparent that resistance to the assholes must innovate a couple of steps past the oppressors if we want to maintain an effective opposition.

Sure the attempts to regulate sites and behaviour on the net make organised resistance somewhat more difficult, but there are still many ways around their largely untested 'safeguards' against counter narratives, and yes it does cost significantly more to initiate and maintain than a static site such as a blog, but the costs are not that big and are easily manageable for a small group of committed activists.

Posted by: Debs is dead | Aug 24, 2012 8:45:09 PM | 31

Two YouTube videos that may be directly related to the story, although they were not used by Liz Sly.

Syrian Rebels Execute 16 Prisoners in Douma
http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=Wy_XmN1NoY0
Published on Aug 23, 2012 by 3TimeToFightBack

(18+ Documenting Crimes Against Humanity in Syria) (Not for Shock) (23/08/12) 'Free Syrian Army' fighters in Douma cut the throats of 16 men accused of being government supporters. The evidence for this comes from two seperate videos. One shows the victims prior to their deaths. They have been captured by insurgents who claim they are 'Shabiha' and policemen.

Another video, also posted by opposition activists but purporting to show the victims of a massacre by pro-government militia shows the bodies of the same men earlier seen in the custody of Syrian rebels. They are seen handcuffed and their throats have been cut. The fact that the dead men were in fact 'Free Syrian Army' prisoners proves that not only did the Syrian rebels kill 16 unarmed men, they also attempted to blame the atrocity on government forces.

The massacre seems to have taken place on the 17th of August, 2012 on the outskirts of Douma 10 km North West of Damascus.

Sources and Video Analaysis Available here: http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=N85IotpBXgQ&feature=plcp

The linked video has been removed by YouTube as "a violation of YouTube's policy on shocking and disgusting content."

A copy of the description is still available here

(23/08/12) Sources and Analysis of the footage I posted here (http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=Wy_XmN1NoY0) showing the killing of 16 prisoners by rebel forces in the city of Douma, just outside Damascus. I include the sources to prove the origin of the videos and the fact that both were posted by opposition activists, the latter with a false title designed to blame the Syrian Army for a massacre carried out by the rebels. I also compare the men in the two videos so as to demonstrate the fact that the 16 prisoners shown in the captivity of the 'Free Syrian Army' are the same men later shown post mortem with their throats cut.

Posted by: Petri Krohn | Aug 24, 2012 10:01:35 PM | 32

sorry about the double posts yet again b. I'm simply too outta practise with the site's eccentricities and believe messages telling me my post was unacceptable because the page view had expired or however they put it.
After two in one week I suspect the ploy will be firmly enough implanted to outweigh my residual korsakoff's syndrome (cheers everyone & big shout out to jameson's stockholders)

Posted by: Debs is dead | Aug 24, 2012 10:16:32 PM | 33

Thanks Petri. It's an ugly business you're in but somebody needs to do it so again thank you. I'm thinking that there should be a more media-friendly way to present your information, but I don't know what it would be, myself not being media-savvy. Perhaps someone else has ideas. Also I'll contact you (adam) with an idea.

Posted by: Don Bacon | Aug 24, 2012 10:49:49 PM | 34

Petri @ 32 -- Good catch. And the irony from Google, it burtns.

Posted by: jawbone | Aug 24, 2012 11:22:25 PM | 35

over at Travesty International: this is what AI says: Amnesty International USA: Peter O'Toole - We are calling for an arms embargo, freezing of assets of Assad and his senior associates, and the situation to be referred to the ICC..............
NOW why isnt AI calling for Obamas assets to be frozen? and Bush Blair Obama Cameron Sarcozy etc to be referred to ICC?? well Amnasty? Your bias shows your not at all intereste in the justice let alone the syrian peoples welfare
https://www.facebook.com/amnestyusa/posts/439984702720852?comment_id=4729910&offset=50&total_comments=80

Posted by: brian | Aug 24, 2012 11:33:56 PM | 36

Syd Walker ‎@SydWalker
One middle eastern regime DOES have chemical & biological weapons. It's name is ISRAEL as Holland learnt (the hard way) http://www.washington-report.org/archives/198-washington-report-archives-1994-1999/december-1998/2999-crash-of-cargo-plane-in-holland-revealed-existence-of-israeli-chemical-and-biological-weapons-plant.html

Posted by: brian | Aug 25, 2012 3:32:59 AM | 37

Nadim Houry is a joke. Early on during the crisis in Syria there were rumours about Syria army shelling Palestinian camps. But those who wanted to drag Palestinian refugees were not well served because Palestinian factions denied UNRWA claims of attacks on camp. Houry tweeted angrily that Palestinians factions 'Their masters voice until the end'

Houry's only 'credibility' in campaigning for Human Rights comes from advocating for migrant workers in Lebanon but he advocates by slandering Lebanese women. He tweeted that Lebanese women have university degrees but don't make a career of their degrees and exit the labour force'probably to manage migrant workers at home'

Recently, Houry tweeted that Syria was using cluster bombs against its people based only on one video. The tweet did not even make it to HRW account, only to Ken Roth's account.

Posted by: Sophia | Aug 25, 2012 7:26:46 AM | 38

Hurricanes, tornado, heat wave, flooding yes Uncle Sam Neptune is now part of the Uranus - Pluto conjuncture. Expect many more disasters especially in Mississippi dear Sam. Look after your own citizens rather then Israel. This is coming as predicated by the Ninth Wave.

Posted by: hans | Aug 25, 2012 8:24:42 AM | 39

Turkey is paying a price as a US helpmate.

PKK attacks continue in southeast Turkey
Suspected members of the outlawed Kurdistan Workers’ Party (PKK) attacked the Omurlu second border battalion today in the eastern province of Hakkari for the third time in 48 hours.
The militants targeted the facility with heavy weapons, the reports said. A clash erupted after Turkish soldiers returned fire.
http://www.hurriyetdailynews.com/pkk-attacks-continue-in-southeast-turkey.aspx?pageID=238&nID=28597&NewsCatID=341

Posted by: Don Bacon | Aug 25, 2012 11:12:24 AM | 40

Don Bacon @ 28, interesting.

Posted by: Alexander | Aug 25, 2012 1:32:24 PM | 41

@Alexander
Good to hear from you. I recall your EMT interest. In fact I just quoted you on RFI (attributed).

To confine this development to Iran, I know we agree, is a vast understatement because it applies equally to all the complex electronics-equipped military materiel everywhere, including (especially) the new trillion-dollar (program cost) F-35 with its million lines of software code.
General (ret.) Cartwright recognizes the overall complexity (not EMP) problem: "We built the F-35 with absolutely no protection for it from a cyber standpoint." We are talking about a fighter aircraft that will serve as the backbone of the United States aviation for decades, and is already hampered by millions lines of software code that isn't quite right yet.
A retired VCJCS reveals the aircraft wasn't developed with cyberwarfare in mind? The Lockheed Martin guy two tables over looked very uncomfortable, and since Cartwright is a former marine aviator, his credibility on the subject is not in question.
http://defense.aol.com/2012/05/15/cartwright-savages-f-35-airsea-battle-warns-of-250-billion-mo/

And ships -- like the two carriers hovering around Iran.

Posted by: Don Bacon | Aug 25, 2012 2:13:24 PM | 42

make that EMP, and Syria. too excited to be coherent.

Posted by: Don Bacon | Aug 25, 2012 2:15:37 PM | 43

A retired VCJCS reveals the aircraft wasn't developed with cyberwarfare in mind

I think between the Syrian and Iranian intelligence they have managed to decipher the secure communication line between the rats and NATO. How else would you explain the total fiasco of the rebels in Latika Province, some of the tactics that was used by the Syrian armed forces could only be done because it was known in advance where the rats would attack from and measures were taken to counter attack. Or were the Germans intelligence totally naive and arrogant to believe they were too superior to the Syrians. I think Iran has a few tricks up it's sleeve.

Posted by: hans | Aug 25, 2012 3:23:01 PM | 44

I wonder if Ismail Hanyieh atending the Tehran NAM is a sign that most people recognize Assad is going to be there for quite a while.

It is truly a big blow against the promoters of a Sunni-Shia civil war. It also a clear reminder of who supports real resistance and who supports the collaborators. Incidentally, Mahmud Abbas is now saying he wont go if Hanyieh does (he will not be missed)


Also, according to Amal Saad Ghorayeb, the Qatari emir is also attending and Turkey is sending Davutoglu. Iran said it would announce a proposal to resolve the Syria conflict at the summit.

Posted by: Lysander | Aug 25, 2012 5:56:24 PM | 45

Liz Sly got busted today!

She was tweeing like mad about "Assad crimes" in Daraya:

Liz Sly ‏@LizSly
Disturbing pics emerging of mass killings in Damascus subrb Daraya after govt offensive,fits a pattern, up to 200 dead
http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=IOT8FK7oKSE

Liz Sly ‏@LizSly
More horrific videos of the Daraya killings tdy. Looks like the biggest massacre yet in Syria
http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=JkHsLqS0NW4
http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=Fg7v3r9IH1U

What the videos in fact show, is fighting age man collected into morgues, evidently FSA fighters killed in combat. This may have been a good day for the Syrian Arab Army, but I would not call it a "massacre."

The slam-on-your-face rebuttal comes in the Syrian Addounia TV news today. They broadcast a 13 minute report with a female reporter doing interviews in Daraya / Darya in the rural area outside Damascus. This is one of the most surreal reports I have seen from Syria. The aftermath of a REAL massacre. Executed people all over town, dead and half-dead women and children between gravestones at a graveyard. The video leaves not doubt to who is responsible for these executions, FSA and the Islamist al Qaeda among them.
https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=HlQ0ENn8xZI

In one section (7:57) they enter the temporary morgue set up at what may be a marketplace. The very same bodies are shown as on the FSA video used as "proof" by Liz Sly. A local explains in Arabic: These FSA fighters have come from Pakistan and Afghanistan.
https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=HlQ0ENn8xZI&t=7m57s

It is notable that on both videos we see signs that someone has tried to burn the bodies. This has been claimed to be standard operating procedure of FSA in case of foreign fighters. (I have seen many other examples.) By burning them it becomes impossible to identify them and know their country of origin. Somehow, this reminds me of the claimed Khamis Brigade Shed Massacre.

Posted by: Petri Krohn | Aug 25, 2012 9:54:50 PM | 46

Don Bacon, do you have some references to how an EMP can be delivered on a conventional missile that has the power to incapacitate a large ship? I looked at some of your links but there is no description of the underlying physics and engineering. I am unaware of any portable energy sources short of nuclear weapons that can do this.

Posted by: ToivoS | Aug 26, 2012 3:01:43 AM | 47

ToivoS @ 47

Google "spiral coil high voltage EMP" should give some ideas.

Posted by: Alexander | Aug 26, 2012 7:53:13 AM | 48

guess who one of amnestys keynote speakers has been:

Petri Krohn ‏@PetriKrohn
@WebsterGTarpley @LandDestroyer – #DeathSquad Coordinator Robert Ford Keynotes #Amnesty International Annual Meeting. http://anti-imperialism.com/2012/03/31/death-squad-coordinator-robert-ford-keynotes-amnesty-international-annual-meeting/

a known perpetrator of coups

Posted by: brian | Aug 26, 2012 10:11:47 AM | 49

"Human rights" -- a basis for military imperialism, more now than ever with faked concerns about refugees and R2P (right to protect). As one of the commenters at anti-imperialism.com wisely said:
"Human Rights in general is nothing more than the propaganda mask of the American Empire and its imperial allies like Europe."

Memories of Marc Garlasco at Human Rights Watch.
wiki--Marc Garlasco, who once worked on targeting at the Pentagon, explained the calculus of civilian deaths in high value targeting to the television news program 60 Minutes this way, "Our number was 30. So, for example, Saddam Hussein. If you're gonna kill up to 29 people in a strike against Saddam Hussein, that's not a problem. But once you hit that number 30, we actually had to go to either President Bush, or Secretary of Defense Rumsfeld."//

Having served for seven years at the Pentagon as a senior intelligence analyst, Garlasco left in 2003 and joined HRW where he investigated human rights issues in a number of different conflict zones. He was later fired by HRW due to his controversial collection of Nazi memorabilia.

Posted by: Don Bacon | Aug 26, 2012 11:39:01 AM | 50

The Costa Concordia sinking in January may also have been due to an EMP attack, in that case referred to as "harmonic interference."
Daily Mail, Jan 15 2012:

Asked for his assessment of the incident, Mr Latarche said: 'I would say power failure caused by harmonic interference and then it can't propel straight or navigate and it hit rocks.'
Mr Latarche said it was possible the cruise liner experienced the same problem that saw the Queen Mary 2 lose power in September 2010 as she was approaching Barcelona. On that occasion, the QM2 was able to carry on into open sea. [The Carnival Splendor incident was in Nov 2010]

http://www.dailymail.co.uk/news/article-2086881/Costa-Concordia-captain-Francesco-Schettino-officer-Ciro-Ambrosio-arrested.html

This scenario, if EMP is to blame, has major implications for US military planes and ships.

Posted by: Don Bacon | Aug 26, 2012 1:03:59 PM | 51

A historical precedent for the massacre in Daraya is the Massacre at Huế in the last stages of the TET offence in South Vietnam in 1968.
http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Massacre_at_Hue

Working from lists of "cruel tyrants and reactionary elements" previously developed by VC intelligence officers, many people were to be rounded up following the initial hours of the attack. These included Army of the Republic of Vietnam (ARVN) soldiers, civil servants, political party members, local religious leaders, American civilians and other foreigners.

The estimated death toll was between 2,800 to 6,000 civilians and prisoners of war. – But as the Washington Post likes to say, "a revolution is not a tea party."

As to the massacre, I again point readers to this shocking but surreal video report Syrian Addounia TV
https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=HlQ0ENn8xZI

I asked the "Syrian Girl" to make a translation into English. It is now available on her YouTube channel.
http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=fiYKAoMcTHI

Also see this video:
http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=ulvBv9DD7Wc

P.S.
YouTube has censored SyriaTruthNetworkEN
http://www.youtube.com/user/SyriaTruthNetworkEN

Posted by: Petri Krohn | Aug 26, 2012 1:46:47 PM | 52

warning- I have picked this up on the web regarding the author of the Carnival Splendor article above.

Who is Sorcha Faal~this person is known to be a CIA/FBI dis-information agent used to raise questions and reasonable doubt…ergo take this article at face value….

However that shouldn't decrease interest in EMP weapons.[And why would CIA do this?] Here's an excellent introduction to EMP.
How E-Bombs Work
U.S. forces are also highly vulnerable to EMP attack, however. In recent years, the U.S. military has added sophisticated electronics to the full range of its arsenal. This electronic technology is largely built around consumer-grade semiconductor devices, which are highly sensitive to any power surge. More rudimentary vacuum tube technology would actually stand a better chance of surviving an e-bomb attack.

and some news from Apr 27, 2005:
The May edition of Jane’s Missiles and Rockets reports that recent missile tests by Iran may have been part of the development of an Electromagnetic Pulse (EMP) warhead.

Posted by: Don Bacon | Aug 26, 2012 2:02:45 PM | 53

Daraya on the NYTimes--
. . .Even as many of the details are still difficult to verify or determine — the exact number killed, how many were executed or died from shelling — evidence of what activists described as a massacre continues to mount. . . .
. . .the Local Coordination Committees and the Syrian Observatory for Human Rights, said. . .
. . .the death toll for the week at more than 630 in the city, said the Local Coordination Committees, including nearly 300 people reported executed. . . .
. . .The Local Coordination Committees said around 150 bodies had been discovered. . .
. . .activists say the strategy has been. . .

-- now cue the British government wing of the "Observatory":
Britain’s Middle East minister, Alistair Burt, said on Sunday that if confirmed, the massacre “would be an atrocity on a new scale requiring unequivocal condemnation from the entire international community.”
http://tinyurl.com/8zbn2ay

FACT: The UN never confirmed any atrocities on the old scale, never mind the new scale, Alistair.

Posted by: Don Bacon | Aug 26, 2012 4:36:06 PM | 54

VOA: Al-Qaeda is in Turkey now.

ISTANBUL — Turkish political opposition members are claiming that Turkish authorities are turning a blind eye to Islamic militants based in Turkey. Mehmet Ali Edipoglu is parliamentary deputy for the main opposition Peoples Republic Party, for Hatay.

Edipoglu says militants who are coming from Libya, Chechnya, Afghanistan, and from various countries in Africa are placed in Hatay and they say they are here to fight for Syria, to make a Jihad and bring Sharia, he says. He says they all openly say that they are al-Qaida and there have been incidents of small fights between these people and Hatay locals. Edipoglu says many are now getting to guns to protect themselves and he says he spoke to the governor and police many times and they tell him they are keeping these people under control.
http://www.voanews.com/content/turkey-syria-rebels-al-qaida/1495382.html

--Hatay is across the border from Idlib and Aleppo

Posted by: Don Bacon | Aug 26, 2012 5:54:52 PM | 55

Daraya massacre is the work of the foreign backed foreign jihadi FSA: http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=fiYKAoMcTHI&feature=youtu.be

Posted by: brian | Aug 26, 2012 6:54:25 PM | 56

people should post the videos of Daraya Petri Krohn has to those ministers and the NYT and WAPO

Posted by: brian | Aug 26, 2012 7:04:55 PM | 57

Did anyone ever correlate the timing of the dates of "massacres" with the dates of UNSC meetings? And now NAM?

Posted by: Don Bacon | Aug 26, 2012 8:02:46 PM | 58

I just started the on-line investigation on the Daraya massacre, here:
http://acloserlookonsyria.wikinet.org/wiki/Daraya_massacre

Please join.

Posted by: Petri Krohn | Aug 26, 2012 9:41:47 PM | 59

@Petri
So you're saying it's a massacre?
This would be the first, by my count.

Posted by: Don Bacon | Aug 26, 2012 10:06:06 PM | 60

Syria 24 English
2 hours ago
#DAMASCUS, (SANA) – In confessions broadcast by the Syrian Arab TV on Sunday after the 8:30 PM news, Libyan terrorist Ibrahim Rajab al-Farajani said that societies and organizations funded by Arab Gulf countries and affiliated with Al Qaeda train terrorists in Libya then send them to Syria via Turkey.

Al-Farajani, a Libyan from the city of Benghazi born in 1993, said that he joined a militant group after the events in Libya, and that during his time with this group he became aware that its members were in contact with people in al-Zantan area where Qatari and Emirati planes loaded with weapons, Toyota SUVs and Qatari officers who trained militants in the use of AK-47 rifles and machineguns of various calibers and gave them monthly payments of 2000 Libyan dinars.

He revealed that sheikhs from Qatar and the Emirates funded Jihadists in order to establish an Islamic emirate in Libya, while some mosque Imams in Libya urged people to bear arms and go to places like Chechnya and Algeria to take part in their version of Jihad.

Al-Farajani said that eventually he joined a battalion affiliated with Al Qaeda which trained Syrians in the use of rocket launchers and grenades then sent them to Syria gradually to fight the Syrian army.

He pointed out that the battalion made a passport for him without even telling him that he was to be sent to Syria, then he was sent to Turkey by plane and arrived in Antioch, where a Syrian took them to a house containing people from Tunisia, Morocco, Libya and Syria, all of them wearing masks and well-trained.

One of these men, a Syrian from Damascus referred to as Abu al-Bara'a, showed them videos and gave them books to prepare them mentally for fighting in Syria, then al-Farajani was sent into Syria along with people from Saudi Arabia and Kuwait, arriving in a house in the village of Atma in Idleb which contained RPG launchers and PKC machineguns, with a car equipped with a DShK machinegun parked outside.

Afterwards, al-Farajani accompanied four terrorists into the town of Saraqeb in a pickup truck to where a group of Syrians were using a girls' highschool to train in the use of DShK and PKC machineguns and RPG launchers.

He went on to say that he went with two terrorists into the a number of towns then headed towards Aleppo, ending up in Tel Rifa'at in Aleppo countryside where they met Syrian militants hiding in a school, and later met terrorists from Kuwait, Tunisia, Saudi Arabia, Turkmenistan and Syria in a house in the town of Mare'a.

He concluded by saying that he left that house with the terrorists and was given weapons and USD 50,000 to be given to people in Damascus and its outskirts.

Posted by: brian | Aug 27, 2012 9:40:21 AM | 61

Turkey closed its border recently, but apparently it's re-opened. There was a strong indication in today's State press conference that the Turkish yelping that it couldn't possibly accept more than 100K refugees got changed. The US leaned on Turkey, obviously, and promised help from its UN subsidiary.

MS. NULAND: "Turkey, as you know, had been quite intent on doing this within its own national resources at the beginning, but now is more open to international help, and particularly to UN help. The U.S., as you know, is the largest donor to the UN appeal both in Turkey and in Jordan. We are encouraging other countries to continue to do the same.

Our understanding today, Jill, is that all the border posts into Turkey are now open. It has been a little bit slow in terms of the registration and the movement. But again, we are working with UN agencies in Turkey to try to encourage the ability to move more people faster, but we don’t have any closed borders at the moment. And the Turkish side is also working with the UN to try to pre-position some supplies right there at the border posts so that people who are waiting to be processed can be served at the same time."
http://www.state.gov/r/pa/prs/dpb/2012/08/196948.htm


A redline gone.

Posted by: Don Bacon | Aug 27, 2012 7:39:38 PM | 62

news report: “Hollande also said France was ready to recognize a provisional Syrian government once it was formed and urged rebels to establish one as soon as possible."

Take a deep breath, François. It may be a while. The US has been been working on it for months now, but the ex-pats don't like each other and aren't liked by the in-pats, the Kurds want no part of a transitional government, the jihadists just want to kill and destroy, and Assad looks good to stay for awhile unless and until Russia and Iran blow the whistle.

Today at State -- Diplomacy In Action:

MS. NULAND: Well, as you know, we have been working with the Syrian opposition for some time as it’s worked through its own code of conduct and its own planning for a transitional government. We have been encouraging the opposition to begin thinking – both the opposition outside Syria, the opposition inside Syria – about the plan that it put forward on July 3rd, and if that were to be implemented, who it might want to have in its transitional government. . blah blah blah
http://www.state.gov/r/pa/prs/dpb/2012/08/196948.htm

Posted by: Don Bacon | Aug 27, 2012 8:24:57 PM | 63

Clearly the opposition needs a new Code of Conduct or redefined Transitional Structures.

Posted by: dh | Aug 27, 2012 9:34:16 PM | 64

Don Bacon at #62 said "Turkey closed its [Syrian] border recently, but apparently it's re-opened". He quotes the US State Dep't saying on 27 Aug "all the border posts into Turkey [from Syria] are now open".

On 25 Jul 2012 Turkey closed all its Syrian border crossings to all commercial traffic, but NOT to crossings for Syrian refugees. Before the move to close all crossings to commercial traffic, only three border gates were still open (Cilvegozu, Oncupinar and Karkamis). In closing all borders to commercial traffic, Turkey cited serious concerns for drivers’ safety, and noted that there had already been a 87% drop in trucks traveling to Syria this year. The crossings of refugees at the border is a completely different kettle of fish.

It's my interpretation of the US State's comment quoted by Don Bacon that it's only talking about the refugees crossing the border. I have not heard any news that the border has been re-opened to commercial traffic.

Posted by: Parviziyi | Aug 28, 2012 4:03:45 AM | 65

In Aleppo City on Monday 27 Aug 2012, the Syrian army fought against terrorists in the neighborhoods of al-Izaa, Al-Ameriya, Tal al-Zarazer, Said al-Dawla, al-Inzarat, Masaken Hananou, al-Mashhad, and Bustan al-Qasr. http://sana.sy/eng/337/2012/08/28/438205.htm

In Aleppo City on Sunday 26 Aug 2012, the Syrian army fought against terrorists in the neighborhoods of Bab al-Hadid, Hanano, Mahalt Sayyed Ali, Maysaloun, Saif al-Dawla, Bustan al-Basha, al-Marja roundabout, al-Sakhour roundabout, al-Baidin roundabout, the Sports Institute roundabout, and Al-Tananir Square. http://sana.sy/eng/337/2012/08/26/438022.htm

That's a lot of neighborhoods. Compared to the rebels, the Syrian army is greatly superior numerically, organizationally and hardware-wise, and the rebels have very little support among the local residents of Aleppo city. So I don't understand why the Syrian army has not made better progress in restoring law and order in Aleppo city during the past five weeks. The first step towards understanding the puzzle is to appreciate that there has indeed been a failure by the army to cleanse Aleppo city.

Posted by: Parviziyi | Aug 28, 2012 4:23:16 AM | 66

So I don't understand why the Syrian army has not made better progress in restoring law and order in Aleppo city during the past five weeks. The first step towards understanding the puzzle is to appreciate that there has indeed been a failure by the army to cleanse Aleppo city.

The Syrian army is trying to limit civilian death and destruction. Unlike the US Marines who pulverised Fallujah without due care or concern. The Syrian army must worry about ICC in case just a tiny possibility that they will be defeated. It is one rule for the US/NATO and another for the rest.

Posted by: hans | Aug 28, 2012 5:18:34 AM | 67

@ Hans #67: You that the failure to restore order in Aleppo city is explainable in terms of wanting to limit civilian death and destruction. I don't agree with you. As a concrete example, in the Salaheddin neighborhood in Aleppo city, the Syrian security forces asked the civilians to get out of the neighborhood, which the civilians duly did, and then when the rebels opted to withdraw from Salaheddin (10 Aug) the security forces asked the civilians to move back into the neighborhood again (16 Aug).

For months this summer in Homs City's neighborhoods of Al-Khaldiya and Jouret Al-Shiyah the rebels were in control on the ground without any civilians at all still living in those neighborhoods. In and around June 2012, I had thought that the failure to retake and secure those neighborhoods in Homs -- and many others around the country -- was due to the constraints the Syrian government agreed to under point #2 of the Annan six-point plan. But the agreement expired on 20 July without any major initiative forthcoming since then in restoring order to those and many many other localities around Syria. In fact the security situation in Syria today 28 August is no better than it was on 20 July, and, because of the mess that Aleppo city is in, it can be said to be worse.

Posted by: Parviziyi | Aug 28, 2012 7:57:03 AM | 68

In fact the security situation in Syria today 28 August is no better than it was on 20 July, and, because of the mess that Aleppo city is in, it can be said to be worse.

Source please.

Posted by: hans | Aug 28, 2012 9:16:15 AM | 69

who has ever seen syrians cheering the FSA?
its always for the syrian army:
Hundreds of people came out to thank the soldiers of Aleppo SAA.mp4
http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=xnbH9wmC9I8

Posted by: brian | Aug 28, 2012 9:27:13 AM | 70

@ Hans #69: One item of evidence for you is the much larger number of Syrian refugees in the neighboring countries today compared to what the number was on 20 July. Example from today's news:

Date 28 Aug 2012, AFP. The number of Syrians fleeing to the al-Zaatri refugee camp in Jordan has doubled in recent days, with more than 10,000 taking shelter there, the U.N. refugee agency said on Tuesday. Melissa Flemming, a spokeswoman for the U.N. refugee agency UNHCR, told a press conference that 10,200 people had entered the camp in the week ending on August 27, compared with 4,500 the week before, and more than 22,000 Syrians have taken shelter at the al-Zaatri camp since it opened on July 30. "Refugees say many thousands more are waiting to cross the border amid violence around Daraa."

Another item of evidence is what you can find at anti-regime uploaders at Youtube, for troubled towns around the country nowadays compared to around the days of 20 July. For instance Al-Rastan town in Homs is still a war zone today: http://www.youtube.com/user/alrstn/videos , http://www.youtube.com/user/aberfreedom/videos

Talbiseh town in Homs is still a war zone: http://www.youtube.com/user/talbisah/videos

Almost none of the troublesome towns of Outer Damascus have been subdued since 20 July: SANA and other pro-government sources are still reporting fighting in those towns day after day nowadays.

Aleppo city and most of Aleppo province was orderly and law-abiding up until 20 July. It is disturbing to me that Aleppo city has not been restored to law-abidingness yet.

The Syrian army has been suffering a high casualty rate: It is well more than 10 times higher than the rate suffered by the Americans on the ground in Iraq and Afghanistan. Why? I don't understand why.

I remember that parts of Inner Damascus were in a state of armed conflict from 15 to 20 July, and then the rebels decided to withdraw from Inner Damascus on 20 or 21 July. The pro-government people upheld it as a victory, but I fear, based on what's been happening elsewhere, that if the rebels had decided to stay and fight, the fighting would still be going on. I see the Syrian army as having a shitty record in year 2012 in fighting the rebels, when I bear in mind the advantages the Syrian army is able to bring to the fight.

Posted by: Parviziyi | Aug 28, 2012 12:46:26 PM | 71

I believe part of the problem is Free "Syrian" Army rebels keep pouring into the country faster than the Syrian Arab Army can kill them off.

Posted by: Alexander | Aug 28, 2012 2:52:41 PM | 72

I doubt that the US is too disappointed in Syria killing off jihadists, so why change anything. The US may be providing the travel funds and tickets.

Posted by: Don Bacon | Aug 28, 2012 2:56:08 PM | 73

Turkey hasn't closed the border, it's only "slowing the entries to a large extent.”
9,000 refugees massed at Turkish border
Tue, 28 August 2012
ANKARA — Some 9,000 Syrian refugees have massed on the country’s northwest border with Turkey, waiting for more camps to be set up to accommodate those fleeing the fighting in Syria, a Turkish diplomat said yesterday. Speaking on condition of anonymity, the diplomat said that “6,000 refugees are waiting on the Syrian side of the Oncupinar border crossing in Kilis province, and 3,000 others at border crossings into Hatay province.”

Turkey has housed more than 80,000 refugees in camps along the border but these camps cannot take the new influx from the latest fighting. “What’s going on is not the closure of the border,” another Turkish official said. “This is not even under consideration.” “We are facing a large influx and the ID controls and security measures at the border are slowing the entries to a large extent,” said the official.
http://main.omanobserver.om/node/107623

Posted by: Don Bacon | Aug 28, 2012 3:03:47 PM | 74

Turkey Closes Its Borders to Syrian Refugees

Aug 28: Turkey has taken in more than any nation—and its decision to close the border to them last night has caused an international stir.

Suphian Altan, a spokesman for the Turkish foreign ministry, which runs the camps, said the closure would only be temporary. The border, he said, along with newly constructed refugee camps, would be open again to refugees in a matter of days.

The closure may have as much to do with logistics as it does with sending a message. In Ankara on Monday, Ahmet Davutoglu, the Turkish foreign minister, used a press conference to make a call for more international support. “We will emphasize that this burden now needs to be shared by the whole international community,” he said, “not just by Syria's neighbors.”
http://www.thedailybeast.com/articles/2012/08/28/turkey-closes-its-borders-to-syrian-refugees.html

Posted by: Don Bacon | Aug 28, 2012 3:15:24 PM | 75

Its a terrible, awful thing Turkey is doing, fomenting extreme violence and government overthrow in a neighboring country and then closing its border to those trying to escape it.

Posted by: Don Bacon | Aug 28, 2012 3:28:08 PM | 76

@ Parvizyi #71

-> "The Syrian army has been suffering a high casualty rate: It is well more than 10 times higher than the rate suffered by the Americans on the ground in Iraq and Afghanistan. Why? I don't understand why."

You compare the hightech army of a superpower spending several hundred billions of USD a year with an isolated 3rd world country relying on russian material from the 70s and early 80s?

Posted by: KerKaraje | Aug 28, 2012 6:26:43 PM | 77

This was choice:

In the most recent discoveries, 11 corpses were found Thursday in an apartment in Kfar Souseh, a day after 24 people were shot execution-style there, according to the Britain-based Syrian Observatory for Human Rights.

Is English her mother tongue? What did they do with the other 13, or did the 'discoverers' of this horror interrupt them taking the bodies away? Who was there the day before to count them?

Posted by: MRW | Aug 28, 2012 8:45:56 PM | 78

Gang warfare -- a characteristic of Lind's Fourth Generation Warfare.

Meanwhile, if you want to envision places such as Libya, Syria, Somalia, Yemen, Afghanistan, Iraq, Mali—the list keeps growing—you could do worse than to think of spreading rumbles in the ’hood. That is a far more accurate picture than the two-sided “democracy vs. dictatorship” image purveyed by politically correct Polyannas. The bulletins of the Syrian Foreign Ministry, it seems, mislead less than those of the U.S. State Department.

Posted by: Don Bacon | Aug 28, 2012 10:41:12 PM | 79

Carjackings, robberies, kidnappings, and militia violence all are on the rise in Libya, prompting the State Department to warn U.S. citizens to stay away from the North African country, nearly a year after Libyan rebels seized the capital Tripoli from Muammar al-Qaddafi's forces.


http://thecable.foreignpolicy.com/posts/2012/08/27/state_dept_to_americans_don_t_go_to_libya

Posted by: dh | Aug 28, 2012 10:59:58 PM | 80

@Parviziyi #71 – You are asking what is the secret weapon the FSA rebels have?

I suspect it might be real-time satellite intel, with remote command and control. I suspect rebel units – even small units – are remotely controlled from some cyber HQ in Nevada, just like US drones are remotely flown. I suspect the US has the technical hardware in space to monitor 100 hotspots at once with Google Earth level resolution.

The US military just donated two of their 20 year old unused space telescopes to NASA to replace Hubble. The technical details of the scopes are still highly classified. I am sure the state of the art has evolved in 20 years.

Posted by: Petri Krohn | Aug 29, 2012 12:02:10 AM | 81

Apparently the salafist killers have plans for the journalist of Aldonia TV who reported on the massacre at Daraya:
Criminal mercenary terrorists disseminate information on the Addounia journalist who made a report to Darryia Sunday interviewing residents of the suburb of Damascus or a massacre was committed by the terrorist mercenaries to the boot of NATO. To avenge this report, Wahhabi terrorist mercenaries threaten to kill her by disclosing these coordinates.
https://www.facebook.com/photo.php?fbid=363106907099341&set=a.121221664621201.24589.121084247968276&type=1&theater

Posted by: brian | Aug 29, 2012 4:10:05 AM | 82

Krohn 81:
what does the US military need with space telescopes?

Posted by: brian | Aug 29, 2012 4:11:37 AM | 83

The Independents Robert Fisk, yesterday in Daraya, seems to confirm that the rebels/terrorists committed the mass killings in Daraya:
http://www.independent.co.uk/opinion/commentators/fisk/robert-fisk-inside-daraya--how-a-failed-prisoner-swap-turned-into-a-massacre-8084727.html

Posted by: KerKaraje | Aug 29, 2012 5:11:11 PM | 84

@brian #83 – They are not really space telescopes, but spy satellites.

NASA gets two military spy telescopes for astronomy
http://www.washingtonpost.com/national/health-science/nasa-gets-military-spy-telescopes-for-astronomy/2012/06/04/gJQAsT6UDV_story.html

NASA Gets 2 Unused Space Telescopes From Spy Agency
http://abcnews.go.com/blogs/technology/2012/06/nasa-gets-2-unused-space-telescopes-from-spy-agency/

Posted by: Petri Krohn | Aug 29, 2012 11:49:31 PM | 85

Robert Fisk Exclusive: The first Western journalist to enter the town that felt Assad's fury hears witness accounts of Syria's bloodiest episode. Fisk, who was actually there, has a different report than other reports obtained by other media. A lot, if not all,of these reports come from "activists" -- people who in other war zones managed by the US are called militants, terrorists and extremists, and are shot on sight along with many others that are "suspected" militants etc.

VOA
Government troops are battling to crush insurgents in the Damascus satellite town of Daraya. Activists on Sunday said 200 bodies have been identified, adding that victims died in shelling or by troops going from house-to-house and executing citizens.

Guardian
Syria's worst massacre: Daraya death toll reaches 400 - If opposition group figures are correct, Saturday's action would be worst single atrocity by regime forces in 17-month civil war

WLS Radio
Syrian opposition groups are now alleging that the massacre of civilians in the village of Daraya is the bloodiest mass killing since government forces began their offensive against pro-democratic activists in March 2011. The death toll in Daraya, southwest of Damascus, was put at 400, nearly doubling the initial estimates from last Saturday when bodies of civilians were found dumped in graves. According to witnesses, both soldiers and their militia allies raided neighborhoods multiple times by first ordering food from their captives and then killing them.

Guardian
Residents told the British newspaper The Guardian regime troops and Alawite pro-regime paramilitary semi-criminal militia gangs known as shabiha raided some streets "two or three times" -- and in some cases demanded hospitality from residents and then killed their hosts when they left. "People were forced to serve them food and tea. Just before they were leaving they killed the people in the house. ... I know the family," a resident who said his name was Abu Muatasim told The Guardian. President Bashar Assad's regime has portrayed the Daraya carnage as a counterterrorism "cleansing."

Reuters
Syrian opposition activists accused President Bashar al-Assad's army on Sunday of massacring scores of people in a town close to the capital that it recently recaptured from rebels. More than 200 bodies, some of them women and children, were found in houses and basements around Daraya, according to activists who said most had been killed "execution-style" by troops during house-to-house raids. Due to restrictions on non-state media in Syria, it was impossible to independently verify the accounts.
---------

Fisk - Independent
. . . residents of Daraya said there had been an attempt by both sides to arrange a swap of civilians and off-duty soldiers – apparently kidnapped by rebels because of their family ties to the government army – with prisoners in the army's custody. When these talks broke down, the army advanced into Daraya, six miles from the centre of Damascus. . . .Another man said that, although he had not seen the dead in the graveyard, he believed that most were related to the government army and included several off-duty conscripts. "One of the dead was a postman – they included him because he was a government worker," the man said. If these stories are true, then the armed men – wearing hoods, according to another woman who described how they broke into her home and how she kissed them in a fearful attempt to prevent them shooting her own family – were armed insurgents rather than Syrian troops.

Posted by: Don Bacon | Aug 30, 2012 12:42:43 AM | 86

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